our everyday life

Family Retreat Ideas

by Elizabeth Smith

For many families with hectic schedules and different activities, it can be difficult to spend time as a family. To get your family together as a group, plan a family retreat. With designated time away from the rest of the world, you will have a chance to reconnect and bond to keep you close.

Leave Electronics Behind

During everyday life, it is too easy to get distracted by Facebook, email, and texting. When you are on a retreat, ask all of your family members to leave their cell phones, music players, and computers behind. In doing so, you will be able to be together without being tied to the rest of the world. To avoid temptation to rush back to your gadgets at the end of the day, don't even take them with you; have one parent keep a cell phone for emergencies.

Activity Focus

To give your retreat a focus and to take the pressure off of communication, plan an activity you can all do together: go camping, fishing, hiking, or learn a new sport like snowboarding. Choose something where everyone is a beginner or has equal ability so no one feels left behind. Alternately, a retreat can be a good way to introduce a younger family member to something the rest of the family enjoys to bring them into the tradition.

Create Traditions

Traditions are a way to keep your family connected and to mark special occasions. On a family retreat, start a tradition that you can observe at various times each year. You might all write little notes saying what you appreciate about each other, pray together if you are spiritual, or focus on doing something together, like baking a special dessert. Your tradition should be something everyone can do together comfortably. In the future, you can repeat the tradition and remember the retreat where it started.

Change of Scenery

It can be difficult to get your family centered on a family retreat, particularly when they are surrounded by familiar settings and distractions. To make the retreat a chance to really be together, choose a different location. Rent a cabin in the woods, go camping at a favorite spot, or simply head to a hotel in a nearby city. Choose a location that does not have many things that will keep your family from communicating: television, for example, can be a way to zone out but does not promote talking and active pursuits.

About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.

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